Sheffield based Ukranian snooker star Iulian Boiko says family has fled invasion and friends are underground

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The Sheffield-based Ukrainian snooker star Iulian Boiko has told how his family has fled and friends are sheltering underground as Russia attacks his country.

The 16-year-old – who became the youngest professional ever in 2020 – is trying to focus on his snooker career in the UK but says he is distracted by the war in Ukraine.

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Back in Sheffield, he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “The situation is terrifying, there is full scale war going on. Attacks, explosions, missiles so it’s really terrifying because I’m really worried for all the people who are there, all the Ukrainians, it’s really bad.

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Protest against the war in Ukraine in front of Sheffield Town Hall, Sunday Feb 27.Protest against the war in Ukraine in front of Sheffield Town Hall, Sunday Feb 27.
Protest against the war in Ukraine in front of Sheffield Town Hall, Sunday Feb 27.

“They [family] are all safe. At the time of invasion fortunately my father and two of my brothers were out of the country. Mum had to flee to come to Poland and for now they’re safe.”

Iulian appeared on Good Morning Britain from Victoria Snooker Academy in the city centre.

He said his parents were continuing doing their job from Poland and were helping people find shelters and places to stay.

He said people helping each other was uniting his country.

Iulian added: “I have a lot of friends and basically all of my team are like family to me, they’re all in Ukraine. I try to talk to them as much as I can – that’s why it takes a little bit of focus and concentration out of snooker because you realise that’s not as important as the people’s peace and lives.

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“They have to stay underground most of the time. Everybody’s looking for safe places to stay, to survive all those explosions and attacks from Russia.’

He said concentrating on snooker was difficult because of what was happening.

“I am spending most of the days on the phone to family and friends,” he said after playing in the Welsh Open this week.

“I have been very worried about them, they are mostly in Kyiv, but also other parts of Ukraine that are under attack. Fortunately my family are all okay, I am here with my coach and a friend.”

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